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Byron Donalds files to run in House District 80

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Collier County businessmann Byron Donalds has filed to run for a Southwest Florida House seat, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

The District 80 seat eyed by Donalds is set to be vacated by House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Hudson, who faces term limits in 2016. Hudson in turn is running for the Senate seat of term-limited state Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples.

District 80 was competitive before 2011 redistricting, when Hudson first took office by defeating Democrat Maria Jimenez by a margin of 53-47 in 2008. Since though, the seat has been modified to include only the inland half of Collier, along with all of rural Hendry County, making success there for Democrats in the future fairly difficult.

Donalds was appointed last year by Gov. Rick Scott as a member of the Board of Trustees for Florida Southwestern State College. He also sits on the board of a local charter school and the Collier Salvation Army. He ran with some success to take over the U.S. House seat of Connie Mack, garnering 14 percent of the vote in a six-way race in 2012.

“I have personally experienced all that Florida has to offer, and I want to ensure that our state remains the best destination for Americans seeking an outstanding quality of life,” Donalds said in a statement. “Conservative leadership in Tallahassee will preserve the Florida we love, and promote the economic and educational innovations essential to Florida’s Future.”

Donalds currently faces opposition in Democrat John Lundin, who ran for the Collier Commission in 2012.

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Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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